Think there are no jobs in film? Think again!

Magic partnership to inspire the next generation of moviemakers

More than 60% of young people have never received formal guidance on careers in the creative industry, a survey has found.

Warner Bros. commissioned a OnePoll survey which questioned 1500 young people, aged 12 to 20, about their creative interests and their understanding of the roles available to them in TV and film.

Despite enjoying hobbies such as photography, video-editing and coding, the findings showed that many young people were unable to see how they could turn their passions into exciting careers.

Respondents were given a list of creative roles and asked to highlight those they had heard of. Only the more obvious roles such as artist, actor, musician and fashion designer had high recognition rates.

In response to the survey, Warner Bros is launching a new initiative called Imagine Creative Careers using the people who work behind the scenes on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films to inspire the next generation of creative people.

Making the Magic

As part of this, they have teamed up with BBC Bitesize to create Making The Magic – a new online collection of resources that will be launched during Careers Week (March 2 to 7) to show what jobs are available and what skills are needed.

Andrew Tomlinson, Head of Digital Products at BBC Education, said “We know that young people have a passion for creative pursuits, but many of them don’t realise they can turn that passion into a career. This brilliant activity is the perfect way to get students inspired and fired up to believe that they can be whatever they set their minds to.”

As well as inspiring budding filmmakers, the partnership aims to tackle the skills shortage in the industry – with employers saying it is particularly difficult to recruit into jobs in animation, games and visual effects.

Behind the scenes at a Making the Magic event in Hogwart's Great Hall.

Brooke McGowan works in visual effects (VFX) as a compositor . She worked on the first two Fantastic Beasts films – JK Rowling’s spin-off Harry Potter series. She uses video editing to blend computer-generated elements with filmed footage to create a realistic picture.

“Our job is to make it so believable that the audience are able to suspend their disbelief and enter these worlds,” she said.

Brooke, from London, only found out the job existed while studying for a degree in film and video interactive arts.

“My tutor said to me, ‘watch the films that you like, go through the credit list and see what job roles there are,’ and that’s where I learnt about visual effects.”

After graduating, she broke into the industry via an internship at a production company which led to a full-time role. When that company shut down, she took on a more junior role as a runner at another firm, fetching teas and coffees.

“I was willing to go in anywhere. I didn’t care that I had a year’s experience. If you want something, you have to go and get it,” she said.

Brooke McGowan: Compositor

Brooke's colleague, visual effects supervisor Christian Manz, oversaw the VFX team for the first two Fantastic Beasts films and is now working on the third.

"There was no direct path," he says, speaking of starting out in the industry. "Getting my job as a runner at Framestore creative studio was the start to my career. Since then, hard work and the willingness to take on challenges has seen me progress to where I am today."

He's optimistic about young people getting into the industry, commenting: "I'm a firm believer that you really want to get somewhere, you'll get there."

Christian Manz: VFX supervisor

Growing industry

There are thousands of jobs in the screens industry, which includes TV, film, gaming and animation, and it’s significantly growing.

About 211,000 people worked in the creative industry in 2017 – up from 182,000 in 2013, according to the latest report by ScreenSkills.

The most jobs are to be found in London followed by Scotland, the South East and Wales.

Despite the growth in the sector, businesses say they find it hard to recruit in some areas. They also report a skills shortage with young employees missing what’s needed to progress in the industry.

The most common shortages relate to production and development roles but there are also significant shortages in advanced IT and in roles such as artists, technical artists and animators, particularly in animation, games and special effects.

Just over a third of employers who responded to ScreenSkills' Employer Survey in 2018 also identified a wide range of skills gaps within their workforce. They highlighted management, leadership and project management skills as most commonly lacking.

Hear from people working in the industry

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